I was able to only watch the morning's coverage and part of the afternoon's coverage before leaving for a job interview, but I felt hope return when I listened to Obama advocate for health care coverage for the millions who don't have many options outside of using the emergency room as a health care plan.
In contrast to Obama, Republicans sounded scripted, repeating the mantra of "start over" and buying across state lines and tort reform, blah blah blah. Starting over at this point would only delay reform, and I see it as nothing other than obstruction for political gain. The health care debate has been dragging on for way too long already, and it has been discouraging listening to the constant barrage of commercials that sound recycled from the 90's health care debate and meant to encourage distrust of Obama and, in general, the government's role in assuring the health and well being of all its citizens.
President Obama countered Republican talking points with facts, and showed his concern for those without health care with genuine compassion. Despite my feelings of cynicism lately about the chances of the legislation actually passing, today I felt hope again that the U.S. will soon join the rest of the developed world in having a comprehensive health care system. Bravo Obama.
Monday, February 1, 2010
I am with those who believe the Senate bill should be fixed through a reconciliation process, and I will continue to push my Senators for it. But this cannot be an excuse for letting the underlying Senate bill wither on the vine or die. Insisting that the reconciliation bill must not just begin but pass the Senate before the House can act is delaying health care reform, and potentially derailing it. Besides, if anyone believes that whatever can be pushed into a reconciliation package are the only fixes this bill is ever going to need, I have a very nice bridge in Brooklyn that I would like to sell you. The process of improving this law will begin the moment the President signs the legislation, and will most definitely not end once a reconciliation bill is also signed into law. It is going to take much longer term commitment both for us advocates and for Congress. So let's pass the damn bill, and commit to seeing it improve not just in reconciliation but by any means necessary in the coming years.